Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Skipping North and squelching South, incorporating an unexpected quagmire

Is it really seven years since I first went to Skipnorth , the friendliest of weekends for yarn addicts? I've had to miss the last 2 or 3, but this year I managed to bag the relevant weekend off work.  After my recent wobbly phase I jolly nearly decided not to go but I'm so glad that I did.  Everyone there (nearly 30 of us, I think) is a joy to knit/spin with and this year the fabulous programme included a steam train ride in our very own compartment.

The weekend began with a row of tables being covered with homemade cakes, curiously flavoured crisps (haggis with cracked black pepper, anyone?), llama snacks (these are llama-shaped wheat bakes with "flavours that kick" and not snacks for any passing llamas, though I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid if one strolled through...  Next came a choice of workshops (knitting, spinning, crochet) or a visit to the Bronte Parsonage.  I chose the latter and decided to walk there and back, eager to test out my returning energy on some hills.  (I live in the flatlands of Eastern England, so hills are a novelty).  Then there was a mini-market with all sorts of yarny and sparkly temptations from various indies.  I got some fabulous green man stitch markers from Woo Sheeps (back left in the picture below).  After a knitting, eating, eating and knitting interlude the grand p/hop stash swap began.  ( P/hop, or pennies per hour of pleasure, raises funds for Medecins Sans Frontiers).  I offloaded a pack of 10 balls of coca brown linen DK (one of those purchases that seem  sensible at the time, but which later strike you as foolish) and emerged with 2 balls of lime green linen blend DK, which I'm much more likely to use (bottom right in the picture). 

Modest stash enhancement

After a good night's sleep (and the option of another workshop) it was off to Texere yarns in Bradford, for a hefty dose of yarn fumes.  I tried to restrain myself but acquired Mohair for a scarf (front left), a cone of green sparkly stuff (since both green and sparkly are irresistible), some cotton chenille for dyeing experiments and that glorious orange marled fine linen thread that you see top left, simply because it glows with beauty.  From Texere we went on to a mill outlet in Keighley and thence by the afore-mentioned train back to Haworth.  I decided to walk back uphill to the hostel and, flush with my success at hill walking, decided to go ahead with my putative plan to breakawy from the main group on Sunday morning, preferring the idea of a nice rural ramble and a posh Sunday linchto yet more yarny temptation at Wingham Woolworks.  Ah, Hubris:
Photo: Nice

Sunday morning started out so well.  There'd been a light dusting of snow overnight but it had melted on all but the highest tops and the sun was shining.  The downhill/uphill/up-an-even-steeper-hill routine of getting into the centre of Haworth was now second nature and I decided to head further up, up, up, up

up above the snowline, then steeply down for a walk by the River Wharfe.  The air had that sharply-cold feelgood feel and was alive with the sounds of curlew and cattle, beautiful, horned Highland cattle.  My walk leaflet described this section as a "tedious uphill trudge", so I decided to do the walk in reverse.  I soon arrived at the tiny old bridge which marked the start of the riverside section:

Just before I got there I passed a solitary magpie and, ever-superstitious, took the trouble to salute him, to ensure that no bad luck came my way.  I crossed the road-bridge and started my walk.  The path looked incredibly muddy, so much so that I almost turned back.  But I could see a dogwalker in the distance and there were plenty of footprints to confirm recent use of the path.  I edged round the mud whenever I could, which sometimes entailed heading quite a way up the steep side of the valley.  At one point my left shoe was partially sucked off by mud and my sock got rather grubby but I was enjoying the gurgling of the river and the sheer joy of motion and decided to press on.  Even discovering that parts of the path were completely underwater, with no alternative, didn't fuss me: for I am fearless in my trusty, Goretex-lined Brasher shoes.

Yes, these really are the footpath!


 But maybe, after that mud-sucking incident, I should have paused and tightened the laces ... (I've been quite lazy of late, and some nights  I have extracted my feet from the shoes without untying the laces.)  Once through the mini-stream section of the path the going became easier, albeit muddier.  Suddenly: squuuuelch, my right shoe had come off completely..  I decided the best thing to do would be to put my bag down safely, then move to firmer ground and thence retrieve the shoe.  But as I went, squuuuelch, and the left shoe was off, too.  Fearless I may be, but my feet were getting cold!  Gingerly, and as flat-footedly as possible (all the better to spread my weight evenly, exerting as little pressure as I could) I found an even-firmer spot, then tussled with my shoes, taking great care not to fall forwards into the mud.  It felt like an age bit, within three minutes my shoes were in my hands and, sock-clad, feeling ennervated yet exhilarated, I went back to a nearby stone stile.  Since the feet of the  socks were now positively mud-and-water-soaked I decided they'd probably cause blisters, so I took them off, and used their dry legs to warm and dry my feet.  Fellow-knitters: if you ever need a tough sock yarn,
Mine aren't quite so bright now, despite several spins in the washing machine...
 let me vouch for the sovereign properties of Regia Ringel Clown. 

At this point I decided to cut my losses and headed back along the way I'd come (at least the wet section rinsed my shoes).  This meant, of course, that I would  have to do the "tedious uphill trudge" after all, but -- guess what-- it flew past because I'd remembered that there was a branch of Edinburgh Woollen Mill at the top of the hill, with the promise of warm, dry, clean socks.  (£7 for 3 pairs.  Not a patch on hand-knitted, but needs must).  As I sped up the hill it crossed my mind that I finally knew what it feels like to be (literally) bogged down and that the surprisingly simple solution is just to step out of your shoes, then rethink.  But this isn't Thought for the Day, so back to the trek.  Next stop, the ladies loos that I'd spotted earlier for a spot of shoe cleaning and, yes, trouser tackling.  Here I thanked my lucky stars that I had a base-layer (aka long johns) and a long, dress-type sweater on.  Off came the trews for a major hosing down under the taps.  Mud splattered itself all over the clean walls of the spotless loos.  (Haworth Museum car park.  Highly recommended for all calls of nature and mudlarking).   I cleaned up the basin, walls and floor, then proceeded to dry the trews under the hand-dryer.  More mud blew onto the walls, more cleaning-up ensued.  At this stage a very smartly-dressed lady came in (I assumed she'd just been to church) and did her best not to laugh.  Instead, she checked which route I'd taken and said that she'd make sure to avoid that one.  I think she saw my bewildered look as she went on to explain that her boots were in the car.   After that I had to rethink my lunch plan.  How could I go anywhere posh?  I still had mud on my cag, mud on my bag, mud on my trews, mud on my shoes.  But my trousers were back on and aw, what the heck, the lure of the smoked haddock with risotto and poached egg that I'd spotted on a restaurant black board earlier was just too much.  Tentatively, I asked the waitress if she served muddy customers.  No problem!  And what a scrumptious meal it was.    Finally it was time to bid Haworth farewell and to head back to the hostel for more shoe-and-sock rinsing, followed by restorative knitting before my fellow SkipNorthers returned.

What an adventure!  Now I'm back in the flatlands.  I think I left a part of my heart behind in Haworth.  How, oh how, I would love to work here:

The heart may be missing a tiny piece, but I still have my shoes.  And the moral of this story is never slip your shoes off without untying them as you never quite now when and how they'll be pulled off!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Missing in inaction

So, there I was last August; new computer, improved internet connection, helpful book on blogging, all ready to breathe life back into this blog and then things happened.  Not creative, exciting things; nor (thankfully) major trauma and upheaval; just a wearisome, spirit-sapping agglomeration of illnesses, foul moods and exhaustion.  And the mixed blessing of an uninvited guest who stayed for about 10 weeks!  I wasn't going to inflict that on anyone.  (At least, not via the blog.  I must not forget to sing the praises of Mr Caught Knitting who has put up with, and continues to put up with, a great deal.)  Now, nearly 6 months on and after two unrelated bouts of surgery), a lot of rest and a determined healthy-eating campaign I'm slowlyhealing.

I have precious little knitting to report (I've only knitted two things in the last 12 months; a shawlette and a cowl; both were completed in January when I needed mindless knitting to stop me clawing at a surgical incision that was healing up.).  But Mr CK and I had a rather wonderful trip to Salisbury in early February.  It had the lot; winter sunshine, amazingly good food ( Anokaa for the most inventive and appetising Indian foodhttp://www.anokaa.com/, Fisherton Mill http://fishertonmill.co.uk/the-cafe/ for the freshest of light lunches, and the scrummiest of cakes), treasure of a guesthouse http://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/merivale-house.html?aid=336478&label=BBDSP and photo opportunites galore.  Here are some of my favourites:

I'm not sure how often I'll be able to blog over the next few months (I have much catching up to do: City & Guilds coursework, untidy heaps of who-knows-what to excavate and, when my spirits life a bit more, socialising to resume) but I'm off to SkipNorth in a week's time so will try to remember my camera.  I'm not sure that a knitting break is ideal for someone with no time to knit, no space/money for stash enhancement and an increasing desire to retreat from the world but it will be a chance to catch up with some very dear friends and I can escape into Haworth village or onto the Worth Valley railway if it all gets too much!  Watch this space.

Monday, August 20, 2012


It's been a long time, but here I am again.  Why the silence?  A combination of RSI, elderly computer and suicidal camera all  caused me to lose heart.  And a lack of finished FOs rather made a mockery of the title of my blog!  I still don't have any FOs but mainly because I'm concentrating on the City & Guilds handknitting course that I'm following.  But I do, at last, have a new computer set up.

And whilst I've been away from the land of blogging, I have still found the time to get out and about. Here's Mr CK exploring Venice last autumn and at the top of this entry a rather fabulous church organ from our Essex sojourn in late spring/early summer this year.   There've been knitting adventures, too, with a return to Unravel and the most wonderful trip to Fibre East; mud and yarn, a truly delightful combination.  I'll leave you with a favourite image from a City & Guilds outing to Oxford (this is the Natural History Museum) and I hope to be back rather sooner in the future...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Rosie in Wonderland!

Can it really be March already?  Did you remember to say "rabbits" this morning?  (I forgot, the shortness of February always throws me).  I love March, it is when I start to feel bouncy again, after the winter lull.  March supposedly bring Mad March Hares, but I've already had a good hare sighting this year, a couple of weeks ago: three hares playing tag in a field by the main road on the way to Ely.  Last March I spied a couple of hares boxing there, something I'd not seen for years.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling a bit as if I've fallen down a rabbit hole, though it was actually a case of travelling to Farnham Maltings, (with Sparkleduck and her husband).  The Maltings is more rabbit warren than rabbit hole, as you can see from the shot below.
into the warren

I realised that I was approaching Wonderland, though, as we walked from the carpark and Sparkleduck spotted knitted arrows pointing to Unravel.  A few paces further on and we saw knitted moles bursting out of knitted molehills, swiftly followed by genuine sheep, grazing under an awning...  Once inside, the wonders increased.  Pillars clad in knitting:
 Knitted toilet roll covers (but of course) in the ladies, a motorbike covered in knitting, a knitted wedding dress, knitted food in the cafe:
 knitted lampshades:
 and there were fabulous talks, woolly demonstrations, and the most tempting marketplace, thronged with eager knitters.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'd love to pretend...

I'd love to pretend that the reason I've not blogged of late is due to my exciting lifestyle. Alas, it has far more to with an evil virus that laid me low. Oh, and I've had rather of loose ends to see to!

If you want to see where all the ends came from, hop over to my City & Guilds blog.

Finally, since today is not just the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, but also that of a certain Valentine, (and Mr Caught Knitting made a gorgeous apple crumble to celebrate!) I thought I'd leave you with a rather romantic view of Ely Cathedral.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yarn O'Clock!

I obviously need to buy more red yarn...

Friday, November 19, 2010

note to self

Time to work out how to fit these objects into the house! I love the combination of updated 1950s feel with countryside images and Burleigh Pottery is a wonderful story in itself. The tote bag wouldn't need much room, would it?

More about the artist, Mark Hearld, here. At the moment, I've got one of his greeitngs cards (a picture of blackbirds, very like the ones on the plate) displayed on my dressing table,a souvenir of last year's visit to Hay on Wye.